Ever wondered how the homes of the future will be built and what they will look like? A closer look at some of the ‘Highly Commended’ nominations in this year’s Master Builder Awards might reveal some trends.
The Low Carbon category was jam-packed with homes of the future that are being built here and now. An eco-chalet nestled in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains in Northern Ireland has transformed the life of a retired couple thanks to its low carbon credentials, and secured Regan Building Contractors with the recognition their efforts deserve. Andrew Regan’s new build in the garden of the couple’s former home not only saves them money on their pension pot by reducing their energy bills, but it also freed up their former home to be rented out.
Working with a £120,000 budget, Andrew and his team incorporated the latest in sustainable technology to reduce the chalet’s carbon footprint. This included insulation, triple glazing, enhanced air tightness with heat recovery ventilation, and they even designed and manufactured their own cavity closers and thermal junction barriers to achieve the best possible efficiency.
This construction process was sustainable in every sense of the word. “They encouraged us to use apprentices on the build,” explains Andrew. The team even built a treehouse for the grandchildren to foster their interest in construction. “We formed one in the style of a tower crane to keep the flame alive,” continued Andrew. What’s more, the client prioritised local materials and struck a deal with the builder whereby their wood burning stove would be powered by Regan Building Contractor’s waste wood, diverting six tonnes of woodcuttings from landfill and saving Andrew £1,000 on skip hire annually.
The Fox’s Hollow was also singled out, this time by award judges in Wales, as an eco-home with a luxury finish. MJ Construction worked with a meatier budget of £650,000, to deliver what director, Michael Lewis describes as a “family home with sustainability and cost-effectiveness in mind for the future.” Energy efficient measures included rainwater harvesting tanks, solar photovoltaics, ground-source heating pumps, insulation, an eco-lighting system and intelligent underfloor heating.
By name and nature, development at The Fox’s Hollow respected local biodiversity by protecting a nearby 500-year-old oak tree throughout the construction process, and leaving an adjacent field untouched to create a sanctuary for wildlife.
MJ Construction brought together style and substance by delivering a Scandinavian aesthetic featuring timber cladding, extensive use of glass, and hand sculpted banisters. Michael added that “80 per cent of the joinery used in this project was crafted on site by my skilled carpenters… It took a great team of skilled tradesmen of whom I’m very proud”.
The Master Builder Awards are organised by the Federation of Master Builders and they aim to recognise and celebrate the high-quality work and dedication of the SME construction sector throughout the UK.